Once a year I buy the Sunday Times for me to read, primarily for the Rich List, the list of the 1000 richest people in the UK. The interesting thing about it is that though there are currently two Asians in the top five and Asians are over represented taking into consideration their population in the UK, there are only two blacks in the entire 1000, Formula 1 driver, Lewis Hamilton, and Sudanese telecommunications giant Mo Ibrahim. In 2018 they were ranked and worth 742/£159 m and 162/£874 m respectively. In order to get in the list one needs to have a net worth of £115+m, meaning that great former boxer, Lennox Lewis is deemed to no longer qualify. The richest in the list, Jim Ratcliffe, is worth £21.05 bn.
There were a couple of other years when there was a black financier in the list. The following year he was incarcerated for fraud. I do not think that it is necessary for us to be in the list necessarily. However, what is necessary is for more of us to be qualified to be in the list, whether we feature in it or not. The number of us is commensurate with our level of consumerism as opposed to our productivity. Lewis Hamilton is not an entrepreneur to my knowledge in the conventional sense. He has a special talent and I look forward to breaking Michael Schumacher’s records in the same way that I look forward to seeing Serena Williams breaking Margaret Court’s record or Tiger Woods, Jack Nicholas’ record of 18 majors, when Tiger eventually gets his A-game consistently together. Yes they will be sponsored and are expected to win events but as I once heard Dr. Na’im Akbar say and teach the subject, ‘Without business our people will perish’. The Honourable Louis Farrakhan once said in the eighties that if the preachers do not change the condition of the people, then the business people become the saviours of the people, providing jobs and developing an economy. It is time for us to become the saviours of our people from a multi dimensional perspective. Do you think the powers that be in many of the countries that we dwell would allow their police to kill us if we treated each other with respect as a rule and they knew that for each person killed would cost their economy £100 bn that would be felt throughout the nation.
Whether you like it or not, or agree with them or not, we have been blessed to have had two first class revolutionary teachers to those of us of the Diaspora, The Honourable Marcus Mosiah Garvey and The Most Honourable Elijah Muhammad. If we have not done so already, I suggest reading their books and listening to their lectures. I strongly suggest that you read, ‘The Philosophies and Opinions of Marcus Garvey’ and ‘Message to the Black Man in America.’ We have been in error by not standing on what they both taught. We would not be in the condition of being non-producers trying to assimilate in all perspectives with the indigenous people instead of creating jobs and a vibrant economy for ourselves. We need to do for ourselves or suffer the consequences. I place the responsibility on black men. We have failed to follow the lead given to us by these two great men. We have failed to collectively do for ourselves, to provide a way for our children so that our women and children do not have to beg another man for a job. I know that love is blind, but our women not having black husbands to provide for, protect and control them (I use control positively and not negatively) and our children not having active fathers in their lives is our responsibility and the result of our neglect and failure to collectively honour our responsibilities. Yes there are reasons why this is the case but successful people do not make excuses. All great and successful people are unreasonable. They do today what other people don’t, in order to have tomorrow what other people won’t have. It is not about just making money but multiplying it and producing industry, jobs, a culture and a lifestyle for ourselves. It is not just about performing but knowing and mastering the business side as well, like Aliko Dangote, the richest black man in the world for example. As you know, we are historically renowned for entertainment; sport, song and dance primarily. Unfortunately, despite this only one black man and one or two black women are of the richest twenty male and female singers. Take a little time to think who I may be referring to. When you know or are familiar with the business it seems obvious, but I am giving you an opportunity to get it right. The thing is we have to add the rappers to the male singers in order to make up the numbers and better represent ourselves with the likes of Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs, Dr. Dre, Master P and Russell Simons for example. The man and woman that I was referring to are John(ny) Mathis, Beyonce and Mariah Carey. Rap is the most revolutionary aspect of the music business but do we control it or are our rappers under orders from the enemy? The rap or hip hop music was conscious and uplifting in the eighties and the wickedly wise powers that be dealt with us wickedly wisely. This led to the death of two of the greatest hip hop artists in history, Tupac Shakir and Biggie Small.
Admittedly the major rap stars seem to have better knowledge of their field especially as innovators and increasingly in terms of the ever changing business aspect. Previously, and generally speaking, our entertainers like the sports people, tend to know about the ‘show’ in show business and not the ‘business’ in show business. Slowly this is changing. Unfortunately given that so many of us are so love deprived we are more interested in the admiration of others, the amount of air time or ‘likes’ that we receive as opposed to ‘making hay whilst the sun shines’ and building institutions for ourselves. Thankfully we have a great example in Akon in an artist who maintains his culture, marries his own (given that it has been justifiably put forward that any black man that marries outside his race is a traitor to his race), is engaged in business and philanthropic endeavours.
Hoofers, such as Arthur Duncan, David Lawrence, Mr. Bojangles, The Nicholas Bros, the Hines Bros. Savion Glover and arguably the greatest entertainer that ever lived Sammy Davis Jr. may not mean much to you. They were also great tap dancers. Now we hardly see many black people tap dancing. When you ask many of the ‘great’white artists, you will find that they not only learnt from and tried to copy our greats, but they earnt several times what our greats earnt and had a greater net worth. I am talking about artists like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Cliff, Richard, Eric Clapton, Amy Winehouse, Adele and Sam Smith for example. Some of us fail to realise that blues, rock and roll and jazz for example were our art forms.
Someone sent me the list of the top ten earners in the Jamaican music industry and the most influential woman in the country. The list was both headed by Caucasians. Chris Blackwell, according to the account, has a higher net worth than the rest of the music artists combined. Simon Cowell started humbly as an office boy, photocopying and do errands and look where he is now. We know he cannot dance or sing. However he has developed an ear for commercial music, understands people in that forum and most importantly, understands the music industry, hence his £350m net worth. Sometimes our lack of creativity may be an asset and not the liability that we perceive. So for example, Simon Cowell doesn’t sing or dance but he makes money from it. Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White realised that he wasn’t cut out to be a great MMA fighter. He appreciated his limitation and now he is President of the UFC and worth $500+m and receives a $20m salary each year. He is certainly worth more than the top 10 MMA fighters combined. In case you were not aware, in 2001, White, along with brothers Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, bought the nearly bankrupt UFC with the ambition of making MMA the most popular sport in the world. Their empire swiftly began to take shape. In 2016, the trio sold the UFC to talent agency WME-IMG for $4 billion. The Fertitta brothers became billionaires in the process, each getting a reported $1.5bn, neither of them being fighters themselves. The two brothers are worth $2.2bn each after taking another business public. A hint for the wise. Another hint for the wise: It makes things a lot easier if you love what you are doing but it is not a necessity. Seizing or creating the opportunity is paramount to success.
There are many initiatives that are geared towards us supporting each other. These are good. However, with the exception of People Organised and Working for Economic Rebirth (P.O.W.E.R.) and Project Exodus initiated by The Honourable Minister Louis Farrakhan, in recent times this initiative has not been really pushed within our communities with essential items that we buy every month. We eat certain foods each month that others are growing, importing and selling us. Others that look at us like a mammary gland or cash cow make and sell hair products that are poisoning us, according to recent articles in the media. Our mortgages, utilities and insurance products are often from providers who charge us over the odds given our ignorance. On the other hand, we say that things cost too much, reflecting our failure to do for ourselves and the fact that we neither earn enough, nor keep and invest a high enough percentage of what we earn.
Our disposable income is unfortunately being disposed of as we give it to others instead of doing for ourselves, often buying liabilities rather than assets. (I suggest that you familiarise yourself with Robert T. Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad series and Dr. Claude Anderson’s PowerNomics if you have not done so already. In fact the title of another one of his books speaks volumes, Black Labour, White Wealth. Student Minister Dr. Ava Muhammad once stated, ‘A (black) woman who is not studying is a traitor to her race.’ The same may be applied to black men of course. No one likes ignorance, stupidity and foolishness, whether it comes from a man or a woman.)
Back to the subject matter at hand: Instead, Tescos and Walmarts, along with their competitors are full of black people in black areas in the UK and the US as we have not provided for ourselves. Our little income goes into banks not owned by us and spent in businesses, largely not owned or even controlled by us. Then we complain that we have problems getting jobs, on the job, getting promotion or so forth, when we could have made a job for ourselves. We could have become C.E.O.s of our own high performing entity, where necessary going undercover by enjoying anonymity via the Internet and the use of profiles, whilst getting the products or service delivered to the highest standard, building up a commensurate reputation. Please don’t misunderstand me. I think we should all have some experience on the ‘plantation’ or being in employment. We need to be familiar with being employed in order to become a good employee, a good employer and in order to do for self via self-employment, business and investments.
Unfortunately given that most of us are into consumerism as opposed to production, most of us are less than three pay cheques from poverty, if not poor already. Most of us lack investments, in our financial ignorance thinking that are homes and cars are our investments, and many of us are relying on a pension from a bankrupt government, or a company that may not be in existence when it is time for us to retire, may be misappropriating or failing to perform in terms of the pension, as we fail to realise that our employers changed from a defined benefit scheme to a defined contribution scheme.
The Most Honourable Elijah Muhammad taught us to pool our resources and go into business together. I suggest that you become familiar with the Economic Blueprint found in Message to the Blackman in America. Taking full responsibility, pooling resources and doing for themselves are what has made the Jews, Indians and Chinese successful for example. Many of us from the Caribbean used to save together and help each other finance purchases and projects in the pardner schemes. It served us well and there was a certain degree of accountability to ensure that we stood and kept each other in good stead. I recall hearing that Maggie Thatcher, rightly or wrongly, put a stop to that. With certain strategic common bonds we may set up credit unions in order to take steps towards our banking needs in our communities. In India, Muhammad Yunus, set up a system of micro-loans in order to help people in his community to start small businesses. This has extended. There is no reason that we cannot do this for ourselves.
We used to know to tithe which is good. However the majority of us do not necessarily consistently go to church, the mosque or the synagogue. Yes this may be as we often find that the ‘preacher is a liar’ as Bob Marley used to sing, finding out that which is taught and the white Jesus for example, is enslaving us or titillating us as opposed to empowering us to change our condition to do for ourselves what others are successfully doing as a result of providing for themselves and others. I am not against the church, mosque or synagogue. I get it. However what is wrong with us setting up registered charities that will cater for the needs of our people and not just make a few preachers rich? With the money that those of us who are supposed to pay the tax man either personally, via our self-assessment or via our companies, we can directly pay those charities registered appropriately with the Charities Commission and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs or the tax man. Then we will have charities that are creating employment for those within our community, who have a duty to serve us appropriately. This will cover many of the much needed areas that our businesses may not cover adequately.
The devil makes mischief with idle hands. The gangs or street organisations are at odds with one another over post codes or zip codes in a negative manner as a result of a lack of guidance from their fathers primarily, their mothers and their communities. We have not shown them the success to aspire to that they ought to. They are a product of us as we compromised ourselves, our culture and what was and in our best interests, instead assimilating and doing what we can to get close to the descendents of our slave masters. The beef the youth get into is natural in their free flowing testosterone filled selves, given a certain amount of competitive and warrior-like spirit. The scripture states that fighting is enjoined upon us. However they have missed the trick: They do not own the post codes that they are fighting over. We have not encouraged them to legally become millionaires by the time they are 30 and be able to qualify for the Rich List by the time they are 40 through legal means where we dot our ‘i’s and cross our ‘t’s, whilst not forgetting to dot our ‘j’s too knowing that we are going to be under extra scrutiny as a result of our blackness, though they may use money laundering or terrorism as an excuse. What makes it harder for us to do so, is that given that we are coming from a Windrush generation, many of us are only conditioned as employees as opposed to being qualified to being entrepreneurs. There is no reason why they cannot have certain businesses in the areas where they live and franchises or other businesses in other postcodes, building in blocks and then streets and villages as we move towards building a nation for ourselves. The reason why people take liberties with us is that we demonstrate a lack of self-respect, a lack of unity and not functioning collective power, economic and otherwise. As indicated before: Do you think if the politicians and police knew that if they killed one of ours £1bn -£10bn will leave this country each day for a month and businesses will be adversely affected throughout the country they will think twice, in the same way as when blacks abandoned the bus services as a result of Rosa Parks defiant protest, hurting many businesses?
Now please do not misinterpret my spirit or tone here. These shortcomings that I have mentioned here represent an opportunity for each of us to break the cycle, bring about change, whilst creating and bringing about the legacy that will warrant and justify our time here on the planet. What is your niche? What changes are you going to make as a result of reading this insight whether you agree with everything contained herein or not?
Mr. Kevin Muhammad